Elevation Gains: Cruise, Charge, and Shred at Will

Elevation Gains: Cruise, Charge, and Shred at Will

Aspen Snowmass manifests the ultimate in powder fantasies for generations of alpha skiers, a diplomatic beacon to aficionados drawn to America’s elite winter alpine sports heritage. The Gant Aspen unveils its partnership with NOMAD expeditions to celebrate Snowmass’s 75th anniversary in consummate style, befitting the most storied slopes in the nation. And like all high-octane powder hunts, The Gant’s tribute to Snowmass starts with a scenic and sexy chopper tour over glaciers.

From Aspen Airport, an exhilarating Gateway Canyon Air helicopter ride whisks us up to the remote Electric Mountain Lodge, where a crew of charismatic mountain men await in the wilderness. Retired NHL legendary defenceman, Larry “Buffalo Head” Giroux of the St. Louis Blues, greets us with his Kodiak bear paw. The Lodge is robust with creative energy in its Roaring Fork Valley co-owners, Giroux and the ever-enterprising Sean Gooding. Since acquiring the property, they have cultivated a roster of cool seasonal activities, a variety of lodging options and a full-service dining room and bar.

The Lodge, situated high above Paonia on the Sunlight-to-Powderhorn trail system, boasts a “hard-to-get-to, even-harder-to-leave” mantra, and it certainly is a rugged traveler’s dream. It’s perfect for those who’ve “done Aspen” a dozen times and want to level up from Magna Cum Crested Butte to graduating with a Powderhorn PhD. During the winter months, only the truly intrepid (or truly loaded) can access the remote destination, at an elevation of 9,200 feet, by helicopter. We hop aboard snowmobiles and hightail it into the pristine wilderness, floating atop the most postcard-worthy snow. The feeling of freedom is all-encompassing. A gourmet après feast awaits with savory and sweet recovery proteins.

Aspen reigns supreme in cutting-edge ski gear; bring your A game by popping into Rossignol on Dean Street in the heart of town. The insider expertise of the onsite team is invaluable. Slip on a stormproof Palmares Tech ski jacket to keep you shredding in toasty style, from first chair to last run. As the sun sets on the slopes, The Gant invokes the intimate spirit of pioneer ski chalets. Unveiling their Diamond Pop Up Lounge exclusively for this auspicious jubilee season, tuck into chef-driven cuisine and festive cocktails. The resort also offers Aspen’s only Rooftop Bubble on its terrace for private après.

CHICA Aspen at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola, mere steps from The Gant, is an absolute must if you wish to dine off-property. Helmed by Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia, tickle your tastebuds with the vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine. Garcia’s short rib is nothing short of a revelation, while his Lobster Mac and Cheese is a hedonist’s delight. Leave room for the CHICA’s take on Baked Alaska; you’ve never had a desert light up the table quite like this—coconut and coffee ice cream packed together into a log topped with dulce de leche and table-ignited pillowy meringue. Magnifique!

As one of the last surviving original school houses in the United States, with just 12 extraordinary rooms and suites, Park City’s posh Washington School House is the most stylish sanctuary for your next snowsports escape. Located just off Main Street, the chic boutique hotel features a heated hillside pool surrounded by aspens and boulders. There’s also an inviting fire pit, fashioned from a steel Olympic torch from the 2002 Winter Games. Before being reimagined as a design-forward inn in 2011, the 1889 building served as a schoolhouse for miners’ children. With wellness at the forefront of travel trends, the hotel offers a ravishingly unique Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Adventure in a 10,000-year-old crater. In partnership with Park City Yoga Adventures, the instructor guides guests aboard paddleboards floating in a 92-plus-degree natural therapeutic pool. Tiny effervescent bubbles rejuvenate dry skin while the hot mineral water lowers blood pressure. Add in the 1.5 hour snowshoe trek along a winding stream and aspen forest, and it’s a day full of robust wellness.

After your rousing day in the winter wilderness, retreat back to Washington School House for legendary apres-ski in front of the roaring fire. Executive Chef Ryan Frye serves up an incredible menu of recovery proteins and healthy mountain fare. He sources the finest, organic ingredients and works his virtuoso alchemy in the kitchen. Each suite is unique, featuring reclaimed wood floors, crystal chandeliers, and tall windows. An artful collection of vintage paintings adds a bohemian vibe, while white marble bathrooms offer heated floors and clawfoot tubs. This is the kind of place that inspires us to think big, to ponder, to make a wish out loud.

When it comes to romancing the slopes on the east coast, you can’t do better than Nemacolin, a paradise tucked away in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Featuring 25 acres for snow sports – including alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snow tubing – Nemacolin’s The Peak has a wide variety of slope difficulty, short lines, and experienced instructors. With a 300-foot vertical drop, this Pennsylvania powder enclave receives the state’s largest cumulative amount of natural snowfall. The First Step bowl is perfectly designed for first-time skiers. More advanced slopes were designed to challenge experts; you’ll know you’re halfway down Cliffhanger when your stomach gets caught in your throat. Showboat is expert terrain where skiers showcase their talents in full view of onlookers. Next to Showboat is Glade Run, an aggressive trail with tree skiing. Only the most daring elite skiers take on this deliciously challenging trail.

Nemacolin’s rolling meadows, hushed woodlands, and stately mountains are the Norman Rockwell-esque backdrop to off-road adventure, 36 holes of championship golf, and a holistic healing center. With five distinct varieties of charming accommodations, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your style. The infinity pool is a social hub onto itself, a lavish cocktail kingdom. At the resort’s Woodlands Spa and Salon unwind in unadulterated bliss with the Five Elements Journey, embracing the delicate harmony between the five earth elements — wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. This signature therapy leaves your body relaxed and your mind in serene peace. Enjoy a range of contemporary dishes from a tempting line up of dining and lounge options. The award-winning European cuisine at Lautrec is not to be missed. From the east coast to west coast, a winter wonderland of snowsports awaits those with a wanderlust for adventure.

About The Author

Si Si Penaloza

Si Si Penaloza's first brush with unbridled luxury came when she was 18 months old, when she toddled from the lobby of Hôtel Ritz Paris into the adjacent Bar Hemingway – only to be busted 15 minutes later. After cutting her teeth as a curator, arts editor and cultural critic, she fell down the rabbit hole of luxury travel. A natural born flâneur, she thrives as a professional lounger – jetting to the world’s top destinations to review hotels and spas for top international outlets. Amid bouts of horizontal hedonism, she’s not immune to the lure of stunt journalism – interviewing Brad Pitt, George Clooney and the cast of Ocean's Thirteen in Cannes, reporting from Prince Harry’s Diamond Jubilee Tour of the Caribbean or racing the Top Gear team through the vineyards of Stellenbosch. She’s also been known to trek the Himalayas in seersucker pajamas, track baby kiwi birds at Cape Kidnappers, observe octopus at 80 feet below in Curaçao and frolic with frisky penguins on Cape Town's Boulder Beach. For editorial consideration please contact [email protected](dot)com.

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